Virologists have assessed the risk of spreading monkeypox

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Monkeypox infection in humans is few and far between and is less transmitted than natural. This was reported to RBC by Sergey Netesov, Doctor of Biological Sciences, Head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Virology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Novosibirsk State University.

“The monkeypox virus has been known for a long time – 40 years, if not more. From time to time people in Africa get infected from monkeys and get sick, sometimes hard. There are from several dozen to hundreds of such cases in the world every year. This disease, of course, can be brought to Russia, but the likelihood of contracting it is small, ”he said.

Netesov also clarified that it is very easy to calculate a person with smallpox by a rash on the body. “In any case, monkeypox is not as dangerous as natural, it is less transmitted, it can only be infected through close contact with an infected wild monkey or an infected person,” the expert summed up.

Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease first isolated in 1958. Most cases were detected in Africa: as a rule, adolescents under 16 years old were infected. Studies have shown that monkeypox is very similar to natural pox. The mortality rate of the disease is approximately 10%, among the possible complications are encephalitis, meningoencephalitis, pneumonia, sepsis. Smallpox vaccine provides partial immunity to the common variant of the virus among monkeys.

According to Netesov, there have been no cases of smallpox at all in the last 30 years. He believes that an outbreak of the disease is possible only as a result of a major accident in one of two institutions in the world, where the virus is stored in the most secure conditions.

The head of the laboratory for especially dangerous infections of the Federal Research Center for Fundamental and Translational Medicine (FRC FTM), professor of virology, Alexander Chepurnov, in a conversation with RBC, clarified that monkeypox is not such a contagious infection that it spreads quickly.

“It is easily blocked with any smallpox vaccine, so I don't see much of a problem in this case. In some people, this disease can be quite severe, but it is incomparable with smallpox, “Chepurnov explained.

He clarified that, despite the fears of scientists that monkeypox may eventually become as dangerous as natural, this has not yet happened.

Earlier, the Novosibirsk Virological Center “Vector” reported that monkeypox today is one of the priority diseases for monitoring due to the increase in cases of the disease among people. “The apparent increase in the number of human cases of monkeypox over a wide area, which has been observed recently, the potential for further spread and the lack of reliable surveillance of the disease make it a priority for disease surveillance,” – said in “Vektor”. They also clarified that the disease usually begins with headache and muscle pain, fever, characteristic skin rashes develop within one to three days after the onset of fever.

In March of this year, Rospotrebnadzor reported that a new smallpox vaccine was undergoing clinical trials in Russia. The Vector Center plans to register it in 2021. Thus, in the new development “six dangerous genes were“ turned off ”by means of genetic engineering,” which should make the vaccine safer than existing drugs.

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